Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.

Started Feb 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
artist vs. robot?

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

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